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As social distancing becomes our new normal, there is increasing demand for entertaining indoor activities. Rather than scrolling through your Netflix queue for the twelfth time, perhaps its time to broaden your horizons and take a (virtual) trip to a favorite museum or show. In light of recent regulations prohibiting crowds, many cultural institutions are directing people to their online resources. T&C compiled some of the best virtual experiences to help improve your quarantine.
Visit a (Virtual) Museum
Google Arts & Culture perhaps has the most extensive assortment of museum collections of any online resource. The tech giant partnered with more than 500 museums and galleries around the world, from London’s National Gallery to Los Angeles’s Getty Museum to Amsterdam’s Van Gogh Museum. According to Fast Company, the platform includes online exhibits, a “street view” feature that lets you virtually tour the institution, and galleries of artwork, where you can take a closer look at individual paintings.
If you really want to dive deep, Russia’s famed State Hermitage Museum recently released a five-hour long video tour of the entire museum. While the video was originally a promotion for the iPhone 11 Pro, it will nonetheless be a treat for art lovers everywhere. The Hermitage is one of the world’s largest museums, and this video showcases 45 galleries, 588 pieces, and live performances.
As another option, Paris’s iconic Musée du Louvre offers its own virtual tours. You can wander the museum’s acclaimed Egyptian Antiquities, visit the remains of the Louvre’s own moat, and tour the Galerie d’Apollon, known for its jaw-dropping painted ceiling.
In addition to online galleries, institutions like New York’s Museum of Modern Art and Metropolitan Museum of Art added commentary to their exhibits. The Met has the Artist Project, where you can listen to famous artists discuss their favorite parts of the museum’s collection, while MoMA has extensive YouTube offerings ranging from interviews with artists to a behind-the-scenes look at how the museum operates.
Attend the Opera
New York City’s world-famous Metropolitan Opera is currently closed due to COVID-19 concerns. However, you can still get your opera fix from the safety of your home. For the duration of its closure, the Met will be streaming its past performances, one per day, for free online. Each show will air at 7:30 p.m. EST on the Met’s website and apps, and will remain available to stream until 3:30 p.m. EST the next day.
Hear Celebrated Symphonies
As symphony halls around the world temporarily close their doors, more and more are playing to empty concert halls and streaming these performances online. The public radio station WKAR published an extensive list of all of the performances set to come. There are also many classical artists performing from their own living rooms and posting videos and links to live streams on Twitter, including New York Times critic Anthony Tommasini’s recommendation, Igor Levit.
Additionally, the Berlin Philharmonic announced they will be making their “Digital Concert Hall” free for the duration of the pandemic. The service includes over 40 high definition live broadcasts and an archive spanning six decades, including some of the best conductors and musicians of our time. The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center also has an extensive free online video library and will, too, conduct live streams during this time.
See a Broadway Show in Your Living Room
Given that gatherings over 500 people are now prohibited, Broadway theaters closed last week. However, with the streaming service, BroadwayHD, you can see many of Broadway’s hit shows from the comfort of your own home. The site offers a combination of past performances including Cats, The King and I, and Sound of Music, and filmed originals like Kinky Boots and 42nd Street. You can get a one-week free trial (or subscribe for $8.99/month), so you don’t have to miss out on the theater while social distancing.
Tour World-Famous Monuments
If outdoor heritage sites are more your thing, Google has that covered, too. First, the search engine has a wide variety of landmarks you can visit through their street view, including Stonehenge, Machu Picchu, the Roman Colosseum and the Egyptian Pyramids. The platform also recently launched the Heritage on the Edge initiative, which features five Unesco World Heritage sites under threat from climate change. The project includes 3D maps, augmented reality features, and expert opinions on how we can protect these treasured landmarks.
Join the Ivy League
Perhaps this time at home will inspire you to expand your mind. The Ivy League colleges are now offering over 450 online courses for free. From humanities to computer science, now may be the time to learn to code or open that book you’ve always intended to read. The full list of courses is available here.